Setting a Table with Style

Decorating Ideas from Casual to Elegant

Are you looking for fresh ideas to update your dining room table? Here are three concepts to inspire you to take your table to the next level, whether it’s an average weeknight dinner or a festive dinner feast. Remember that your table décor sets the mood for the dinner party.

According to Mary Stauffer, owner of Tallulahs, one rule of thumb to dress up a table is the 3-2-1 rule. Take your three items: dishes, flatware and glasses. If two are ornate or fancy, you want one to be plain. If two are plain, you want one to be fancy. “That’s how you balance the look when you’re setting the table,” Stauffer explains.

A centerpiece of fresh flowers can cheerfully brighten the mood in your home and bring interest to the tabletop. Typically, centerpieces are guided by your theme and the season. Speaking of which, Kent Anderson, owner of Kent’s Floral Gallery, cautions hosts to be mindful of allergies, as centerpieces are in very close proximity to guests. “Make sure to tell your florist if anyone is sensitive to allergies so they can avoid using flowers that contain more pollen,” he says.

It’s important to communicate with your florist about your ideas for the centerpiece. “Tell the designer the size and shape of the table your centerpiece is for so that they can be mindful of that and help recommend the right shape/style of centerpiece,” Anderson recommends. “Describe the feel, venue, style and any major colors you want your centerpiece to mirror but try to give your florist the ability to use their own creative expertise as much as possible.”

Don’t forget the most important rule of setting a table: The goal is to bring friends and family together to enjoy food, stories and laughter. And don’t be hesitant to try new things.

“There are so many interesting garlands, candles and design styles that your florist can recommend,” Anderson says. “Don’t feel like you have to do the traditional table centerpiece in a vase on each table. Feel free to use multiple pieces in your centerpieces, there are many different styles and groupings you can create.”

“Have fun with it,” Stauffer agrees. “If there’s a piece you love, put it out on the table and incorporate it into your table. Let your guests enjoy it.”


The Everyday Look

The everyday centerpiece is set in a Hibiscus white fluted vase (Tallulahs). The arrangement contains hydrangeas, spray roses, sunflowers, snow on mountain, Lisianthus and yellow lilies (Kent’s Floral Gallery).

Kent’s Composition Tip: This centerpiece is a Southern garden bouquet of locally grown, handpicked flowers. It’s perfect for any late summer gathering.


The Formal Look

The formal centerpiece is set in a Beatriz Ball serving bowl (Tallulahs). The arrangement contains Gladiolus, white Casablanca lilies, ZZ plants, curly willow in chocolate Queen Anne’s lace and reindeer moss (Kent’s Floral Gallery).

Kent’s Composition Tip: This is a modern-contemporary piece with clean lines. This bouquet has a touch of a traditional feel with large, showy blooms and tropical foliage.


The Rustic Look

This centerpiece is set in a rustic, Creative Coop wood box (Tallulahs). The arrangement contains wildflowers, zinnias, marigolds, millet, dill, Amaranthus and Gomphrena (Kent’s Floral Gallery).

Kent’s Composition Tip: This centerpiece has a natural, wildflower look with the blooms and foliage, which are arranged as they would be found in nature.


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